MOVIE BUFF-ET: Anticipated films make January mixed bag not so bad

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January is an odd time for movie going. Some of the best films finally make it to fly-over country after opening in December in Los Angeles and New York for Oscar consideration, but movie studios also drop some of their least desirable films into theaters from now through March.

So the quality of films released over the next eight weeks is likely to be a mixed bag.

New In Local Theaters

  • Insidious: The Last Key (PG-13) 1 hr. 43 min.
    (AMC Fiesta Square, Malco Razorback, Malo Springdale, Malco Rogers Towne)
    » Watch trailer
  • Molly’s Game (R) 2 hr. 20 min.
    (Malco Razorback, Malco Pinnacle)
    » Watch trailer
  • Wonder Wheel (PG-13) 1 hr. 41 min.
    (Malco Rogers Towne)
    » Watch trailer

Two promising movies open this Weekend in “Molly’s Game,” which stars Jessica Chastain as a women being prosecuted for running a high-stakes underground poker game, and director Woody Allen’s latest effort “Wonder Wheel,” which stars Kate Winslet, Jim Belushi, Juno Temple and Justin Timberlake.

“Molly’s Game” is getting decent reviews, but “Wonder Wheel” might be the worst-reviewed Woody Allen production, well, ever.

“Insidious: The Last Key” also opens this weekend. It is the fourth in the popular series of horror films, but most reviews are calling it uninspired.

So, see them at your own risk. “Molly’s Game” looks like the best bet.

But, just because this weekend seems a bit lackluster doesn’t mean there aren’t some good films coming our way in the next few weeks. Here is a list of films that should open within the next month that might catch your fancy.


I’m a sucker for a Western, and this film, featuring Christian Bale, Wes Studi, Rosamund Pike, and Ben Foster, looks like a promising one. Bale is a calvary officer charged with escorting a Cheyenne war chief (Studi) through Comanche territory back to his tribal lands in Montana.

The Post

“The Post” is a film directed by Steven Spielberg that stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep about the publication of the Pentagon Papers by “The Washington Post.” The movie has Oscar written all over it. This is a must-see movie for me.

The Shape of Water

Few people love the old Universal monsters more than I do, but one of them happens to be director Guillermo del Toro. His latest film “The Shape of Water” isn’t officially a sequel to the Creature from the Black Lagoon movies made in the 1950s, but from the trailers that’s certainly what it looks like to me. Sally Jenkins is being mentioned for a Best Actress Oscar nomination, and there’s not a better actor working today to play a textured villain than Michael Shannon. Throw in Octavia Spencer, who owns any role she plays, and this is a movie I can’t wait to see.

I, Tonya

I could have gone the rest of my life without hearing the name Tonya Harding ever again and been perfectly happy. I wouldn’t cross my living room to see a biopic about her. However, make a black comedy about her starring Margot Robbie, and you have peaked my interest. Robbie and Allison Janney, who plays Harding’s mother are also receiving Oscar attention for their performances. I’m still not promising to see this movie, but Robbie and Janney do hold some attraction.

Classic Corner

The Room

Most films are labeled classics because they are considered to be great. However, every once in a while, a movie comes along that is considered to be a classic because of how bad it is.

Movies like “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” Refer Madness,” and “Battlefield Earth” come to mind, but perhaps the finest example of bad film making is “The Room.”

The movie — produced, written, directed by and starring Tommy Wiseau — has been branded the “Citizen Kane” of bad movies.

The notorious 2003 film gained cult status in the Los Angeles from its sold-out midnight showings over the years, and it is considered a text-book example of what not to do when making a movie.

The film revolves around a love triangle between Wiseau’s Johnny, his sketchy fiancee Lisa (Juliette Danielle), and his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero).

The film is so bad, and the making of it was so odd that Sestero and co-writer Tom Bissell penned a memoir about the creation of this cinematic monstrosity entitled “The Disaster Artist.”

Director/star James Franco filmed an adaption of the memoir that is being hailed as an Oscar contender. Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” is in limited release and has yet to open in Northwest Arkansas, but thanks to Fathom Events, the Malco Razorback will have a special showing of “The Room” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10.

So if you want to see arguably the worst movie ever made, on the big screen, well, here is your chance. And you don’t even have to stay up until midnight to watch it.